Maryland Passes First-in-the-Nation Law To Create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board

ANNAPOLIS, MD — The Maryland legislature officially voted to create a groundbreaking Prescription Drug Affordability Board, an independent body with the authority to evaluate high-cost prescription drugs and set reasonable rates. The bill, HB 768, now moves to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk, with a chance to set a model for the nation to make prescription drugs more affordable. Today, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now launched a new flight of digital ads that give residents tools to encourage Gov. Hogan to sign the bill into law.
 
P4ADNow, a bipartisan patient advocacy organization that takes no money from the pharmaceutical industry, earlier endorsed the legislation and ran an aggressive campaign to support the bill. Today's new digital ads continue a 5-figure effort to support state partners, including AARP Maryland, NAACP, MedChi, and the Maryland Health Care For All Coalition.

“The state needs this board to push back against Big Pharma’s unaffordable prices,” said Maryland resident David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder and president of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “The status quo needs to change, and the Prescription Drug Affordability Board is a national model.”
 
The Prescription Drug Affordability Board bill, sponsored by Senator Katherine Klausmeier and Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, would:

  • Create a five-member board to review new brand-name prescription drugs that enter the market at $30,000 or more per year or course of treatment.

  • Review existing brand name medications that increase in price by $3,000 or more per year.

  • Establish maximum costs to be paid by state and local governments for certain high-cost medications. 

To date, thousands of Maryland residents have reached out to state lawmakers in support of the measure.
 
According to recent polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 25 percent of Americans say they trust drug corporations to price their products fairly. Among Maryland voters, 78 percent favor creating a prescription drug affordability board in Maryland, according to a January Gonzales Poll by Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative. 
 
Patient perspective
 
Stahis Panagides is a Marylander, Parkinson’s patient, and Medicare recipient whose life has been directly impacted by skyrocketing prescription drug prices.
 
“My doctor recently prescribed Rytary to mitigate my disease. But even with my robust Medicare plan, I am not able to afford the $400 monthly price tag on this drug. It’s heartbreaking to know that there’s a drug out there that could treat my symptoms, but I can’t access it because the price is just too high,” Stahis told Patients For Affordable Drugs Now.


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